Starting out promisingly right from the final scene of the first film, a cop and news reporters investigate the grim attic of Willard Stiles, where his dead body lies. Through the finding of Willard's personal diary (a nice plot touch) they discover how he trained a squadron of rats (headed by king rodent "Ben") to kill for him.
From there it's all downhill as we switch over to Danny (Lee Montgomery), a sweet lonely child with a heart condition. He's due for another operation that may even kill him. He lives with his mother and an older sister, Eve (a young Meredith Baxter, pre-FAMILY TIES). A chance encounter with Ben the Rat brings Danny his only true friend, and he entertains his squealing furry buddy with sing-alongs, puppet shows, and toy train rides. Danny even composes a song of tribute to Ben, his friend to the end. At the same time, Ben's nose-twitching comrades are festering around the city, scaring people and trashing whole supermarkets as they scavenge for food. Danny is able to actually converse back and forth with Ben and understand squeak-talk, so he tries to impress upon him that he and his rodent friends can't just do whatever they want, because people don't like that. The police are positively baffled as to how to locate and destroy the rats.
Playing more like a wholesome Walt Disney family flick (in fact, lead child actor Lee Montgomery DID previously star in Disney's THE MILLION DOLLAR DUCK), this is a dull and saccharine affair with every other cardboard adult character being more uninteresting than the next. The best thing going for this is the likably pleasant hit song featured at the end, and recorded by Michael Jackson - it even won a Golden Globe and was nominated as "Best Original Song" at the Academy Awards! The movie, however, earns a Turkey.
*1/2 out of ****